Button competing in Extreme E to improve off-road racing skills

Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button says he is competing in the inaugural Extreme E season because he is “not very good” at off-road racing but “really wants to be”.

Button competing in Extreme E to improve off-road racing skills

Button has contested the Mint 400 and Baja 1000 in 2019 aboard a 750bhp trophy truck but will now drive for his own JBXE team in Extreme E.

Son of British and Lydden Hill Rallycross racer John, Button will partner Extreme E tyre supplier Continental’s test driver Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky after she won the seat following a three-way private shootout in Wales.

Button, who made his last Formula 1 start in the 2017 Monaco Grand Prix, explained he had moved to Extreme E after he was priced out of an initial World Rallycross interest.

He said: “I had a couple of goes in a rallycross car, wanted to do that but the cost was just through the roof.

“It was around the time when all the manufacturers were getting involved [in World Rallycross] and it was £12-15million to run a team.

“It was like ‘pfft, I’m not going to be able to find that amount’ for a category that’s not Formula 1, not the World Rally Championship.

“I thought it would be very difficult to bring in the sponsors and the partners.

“[Whereas in Extreme] I think to bring sponsors onboard, it’s probably the best category there is in motorsport right now.

“One, because it’s electric, it’s new technology and it’s something we’re all going to be using in our road cars in 10-15 years, everyone is going to be driving electric cars, or possibly hydrogen.

“So, from that point of view, I thought it was perfect.

“Wheel-to-wheel action with the best drivers in the world is great; male and female, it’s the first time that’s ever happened.”

Motorsport Images will provide exclusive photography assignment and distribution services for the Extreme E series and teams.

Motorsport Images will provide exclusive photography assignment and distribution services for the Extreme E series and teams.

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Button added that his only target for the first-ever Extreme E round, which takes place in AlUla desert in Saudi Arabia this weekend, was “survival”.

He explained that his motivation to compete in Extreme E as a driver, beyond fellow F1 champions and team owners Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, was to improve his ability to race off-road.

“[I’m] really looking forward to it; it’s a very different experience to anything that I have driven and raced really on track,” Button said.

“It takes a long time to really get to grips with it, and it’s scary as well.

“The amount of dust you get with it, the visibility is not there that I was used to in a race car, and the consistency, lap after lap having the same kind of circuit. Every lap it changes a little bit but not much.

“It’s very unusual and I think that’s why I love it so much and want to keep doing it, is because I’m not very good at it yet, and I really want to be.”

The opening round of Extreme E will be broadcast live in the UK on Sky Sports, ITV and BBC platforms this weekend.

shares
comments
Extreme E alters format ahead of opener after dust concerns
Previous article

Extreme E alters format ahead of opener after dust concerns

Next article

How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport

How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport
Why McLaren has taken its unprecedented off-road left turn Plus

Why McLaren has taken its unprecedented off-road left turn

McLaren will be in distinctly unfamiliar territory this weekend as it makes its Extreme E debut. But this rugged left turn serves as a means to an end to inspire a greater good

Extreme E
Feb 18, 2022
How motorsport’s new eco series fared in its debut season Plus

How motorsport’s new eco series fared in its debut season

A brand new motorsport series with a disruptive credo will inevitably suffer teething problems. But the electric off-road series put on a spectacular show in its debut season and laid a positive foundation for the future, if manufacturers decide to follow suit

Extreme E
Jan 5, 2022
How Rosberg triumphed over Hamilton in 2021's final showdown Plus

How Rosberg triumphed over Hamilton in 2021's final showdown

The last hurrah of the 2021 motorsport season boiled down to another Nico Rosberg versus Lewis Hamilton head-to-head. As in 2016, it was the former who won out, his RXR Extreme E team prevailing in a tiebreaker following a tense final round of the all-electric off-road series at Dorset's muddy Bovington military base

Extreme E
Dec 20, 2021
How technical troubles detracted from Extreme E's Sardinia encounter Plus

How technical troubles detracted from Extreme E's Sardinia encounter

Extreme E has provided thrilling plot lines in its inaugural season, but numerous mechanical failures on the ODYSSEY 21 have detracted from the closely fought battles across various terrains. Sardinia's Island X-Prix set up a championship finale, but also underlined what Spark must do to fix the car for next season

Extreme E
Oct 26, 2021
How Extreme E’s Arctic adventure gave a chilly reminder of the fixes to find Plus

How Extreme E’s Arctic adventure gave a chilly reminder of the fixes to find

Extreme E’s third round provided the very definition of extreme conditions in the Artic Circle, and despite settling on a successful format and Andretti United taking a maiden win, there remains plenty of work to do with the spec cars that froze in action

Extreme E
Aug 30, 2021
Why McLaren’s surprise electric path can benefit everyone involved Plus

Why McLaren’s surprise electric path can benefit everyone involved

McLaren's announcement that it will enter the Extreme E series for electric SUVs next year came as something of a surprise. But it brings benefits that other championships it could seek to enter cannot, while providing a timely boost to a start-up that has had to cancel two of its South American rounds

Extreme E
Jun 13, 2021
Why Extreme E's Senegal round hints at the series' true potential Plus

Why Extreme E's Senegal round hints at the series' true potential

Extreme E's second round on the sands of Senegal refined some the more clunky aspects of the series' debut event in Saudi Arabia. Even though its star-studded finale between Lewis Hamilton's X44 team and Rosberg X Racing proved anticlimactic, the pieces are in place for the series to only get better

Extreme E
Jun 1, 2021
The key area where a start-up series is outdoing F1 Plus

The key area where a start-up series is outdoing F1

While there are those – including several major car manufacturers – who think Formula E has had its day, FE founder Alejandro Agag is continuing to innovate with the new Extreme E series. MARK GALLAGHER sees one element in which it has Formula 1 beaten

Extreme E
May 26, 2021